Paying respects: Team effort restores historic Canandaigua cemetery

A decades-long silence was broken at an abandoned landlocked cemetery off Wyffels Road in the town of Canandaigua. And for many, it’s a dream come true.

Sounds of clanging shovels, buzzing chainsaws and the chatter and laughter of more than 30 volunteers signaled rebirth and restoration on Saturday, Sept. 8, to historic Wolverton Cemetery, also known as Red Dock Cemetery.

Tucked away in a privately owned 50-acre wood between County Road 16 and Laura Lane, the 60-by-80-foot burial site is most notably the final resting place of War of 1812 veteran Seth Beeman.

And thanks to a battalion of volunteers under the leadership of 16-year-old Josh Dutcher, a member of Canandaigua Boy Scout Troop 30 and Eagle Scout candidate, the site has been cleared of overgrowth; a 400-foot split rail fence installed; burial sites probed, recorded and logged; and honor paid to Mr. Beeman.

Initial planning for the project started in June, with specifics nailed down in mid-August, Dutcher said.

But long before the big work day, in the steamy summer heat, the Canandaigua Academy junior and his dad, Jay Dutcher, created access for volunteers by clearing the thicket of scrub bushes, bramble and poison ivy that had overgrown the tombstones.

When Sept. 8 finally arrived, the payoff was huge, Josh said.

“It’s fun seeing how quickly all the work is getting done,” he said. “I’d just like to thank everybody that came and helped out. Without them it would take a very, very long time.”

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